Nowadays, it’s virtually impossible to stay off the internet, whether it’s for work, for fun, for research, for important things like the news, or anyone of a hundred other reasons, we all spend time online every day. 

Being online isn’t a problem, it can be helpful, entertaining, social, or informative, but there are some downsides when it comes to staying safe especially with social media. Being vulnerable or unsafe with your social media pages can leave you exposed to scams, hacks, viruses, and a number of other unpleasant or distressing situations. However, before you panic and swear off social media for life, we are here to help you; there are steps you can follow in order to help stay safe online and you’ll find our top steps below.

1. Don’t Mention Personal Information

While it may be fun to give other people an insight into your life, resist the temptation to give out more information than necessary, this includes things you own as well as private details. 

For example, don’t show pictures or share data such as your passport, email address, home address, payment details or passwords, even if you think people won’t misuse them, assume they will. 

Additionally, it is equally as important not to share pictures or posts about things you own such as expensive watches or other jewelry, your nice car, the latest phone or other valuables. Displaying these types of pictures could make you a target for anyone looking to make some fast cash via stealing from others. Be sensible with all information you give out and don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position.

2. Don’t Click Unknown Links

From time to time, you might receive a message with a link through your email or one of your social media accounts – if in doubt, don’t click it. If the link address looks strange, or the sender’s profile doesn’t look legitimate, don’t click the link. Even if the link looks like it has come from someone you know, still don’t click the link, rather message text them privately on a different account to double-check if it was them – you never know, their account could have been hacked. Clicking an unknown link could infect your device with a virus, it could scam your data, or put you at more risk in the future.

3. Don’t Reply to Emails from Strange Accounts

Similarly, don’t reply to emails from strange accounts. Like with the above step, this is another way you could end up being at risk or falling victim to a scam or data hack. Just like with the previous step, if the email looks like it has come from a friend, but the message doesn’t seem like it was written but them, message them on a different platform and check it’s them before you reply.

4. Make Your Profile Private

On all social media accounts, you have the option to make your page public or private. If your page is public, then literally anyone in the world can choose to see your profile, your pictures, and updates. However, if it’s on private then only people you are friends with, or only people you approve will be able to see your page. This is a simple and effective way of keeping yourself safe on social media.

5. Don’t Include Your Location

It’s tempting to include your location when you post photos or stories but don’t. Why does anyone need to know where you are? They don’t. Telling the world you are currently anywhere except your house, only tells people that there’s a good chance your house is empty and easier to break into. 

Furthermore, if you post your locations, and it’s part of your weekly routine, again, this can give the wrong kind of people information about where you are at what times during each week.

6. Use Spokeo to Check Sellers

Buying and selling on social media can be super handy for all involved, but when you are buying from someone, you want to be able to check that they are who they say they are before meeting them – that’s where Spokeo comes in. Spokeo is a phone number search tool that could give you background information on anyone in an instant. Simply get the seller’s phone number or email, and use the phone number search or email search option to find data such as social media accounts, any criminal records, and other helpful information that will help you check that you are dealing with a safe and trustworthy person. And if you’re not, well, just cancel the purchase, don’t meet with them, don’t give them your information, and you will be completely safe.

Social media has a lot of benefits, it’s great for staying in touch with friends and family, it’s nice to see other people’s pictures and it’s a convenient way to buy and sell items. However, it’s important to stay vigilant in your security, and by taking on board our steps such as not giving out too much information or using a tool like Spokeo to double-check sellers, you can be as safe as possible online.

 

About the Author:

Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies, and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world, and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.